Have you seen a big red banner floating around your social media telling you to skip work on October 15th? The graphic proclaims there will be a national general strike on Friday, Oct. 15. It's list of demands: a $20 minimum wage, 12 weeks paid maternity leave, healthcare, a four day work week, environmental regulation and a 25% corporate tax. “Don’t work and get more rights,” it chants. 

What’s Going On?

The red banner was released in July 2021 by an anonymous group vaguely based “in the Midwestern United States,” according to the website octoberstrike.com.

TheJ.J. is the Public Relations Chair for Labor Movement X, the organization hosting the strike, gave some insight into the event's evolution., She requested to remain anonymous and will go by the name J.J. for our purposes.who requested to remain anonymous, for the organization hosting the strike, Labor Movement X.

“I would say the strongest influence and response came from TikTok, and mainly through reshares and people duetting the strike flyer and talking about the demands,”  J.J.she said.

The TikTok account, @generalstrikeoct15, has just under 25,000 followers, and their petition on change.org has a similar number of signatures.

"It's time to take the bull (aka: the ruling class and the U.S. government) by the horns," said one comment on the petition. Another comment read, “I’ve worked since I was a child and I never caught up and things never got better. All the while everybody and every company told me I wasn’t trying hard enough. Now I know the truth. Enough is enough.”

“2020-2021 has been one heck of a time period and as a person of color, as a woman, as a citizen of the United States, it is so difficult trying to live according to this American Dream that we have been presented with our whole lives." - J.J.

“2020-2021 has been one heck of a time period and as a person of color, as a woman, as a citizen of the United States, it is so difficult trying to live according to this American Dream that we have been presented with our whole lives," J.J. said. "I think for me, the thing that woke me up was seeing that in the flyer and seeing people actively demanding change."

Haven’t Heard of It? Here’s Why. 

It wasn’t an organization at the start. It was a group of anonymous people with a vague idea of what they wanted to do, but no research or plan to bring it into fruition.

They had an audience, however, and people gradually stepped in to support and volunteer, like J.J. 

“A lot of people, when they came [to the organization] earlier on were saying, ‘You’re doing this backwards, this isn’t how you go about organizing a general strike.’ Everyone who had organizing experience agreed,” she said. 

After several failed attempts to get a public social media presence – including one incident where a hacker took the group’s Twitter account – the volunteers began to organize into specialized groups to form committees, chairs, a brand new website and finally an actual social media presence. By that point, the original creators of the campaign dropped out, either because they felt overwhelmed or ill-equipped, according to J.J. 

The new group persisted and called itself Labor Movement X (LMX). Named for the Roman numeral X, the X represents the organizations  ten demands and the strike happening in the tenth month of the year. This time around, the demands were researched and created into action items, publicly available on LMX’s website. 

These new demands include adequate wages and hours, accessible universal healthcare, ethical environmental action and more. 

So How Does it Work?

The main idea is, don’t work. 

Serenity, who also elected to remain anonymous, is a leader of the Workers Strike branch of the Raven Corps, a youth-led activism group based in Portland, Oregon. They are part of LMX’s plan to make a national problem local.

The Raven Corps, a youth-led activism group based in Portland, Oregon is working with LMX to make a national movement local. One leader of the Workers Strike Branch of Raven Corps, who we will be referred to as Serenity as they requested to remain anonymous, has been working with local activists to make sure the event happens safely and effectively. 

“You don’t have to riot in the streets, you don’t have to break into a Best Buy. You just don’t go to work and you just spend [October 15th] apple picking or something," Serenity said. "Just go do something fun with your family or friends and don’t support big businesses."

“If I turned on the news today and saw that enough people in my hometown simply refused to go to work and I saw that had made a news story on my home station, I would feel like that had a significant impact.” J.J. explained. 

LMX acknowledges that people can lose their livelihood if they go on strike, and offers some alternatives to skipping work.

“I actually have to work that day too. I just started a new job and if I miss any days I could potentially be fired, and I need that income;” said Serenity. "Don’t use any services such as Netflix, Hulu, even YouTube. No buying gas; gas is a huge contributor to environmental pollution, no buying groceries or going to the grocery store. Don’t go to Dollar Tree, don’t go to Goodwill, no economic impact whatsoever."

In addition, LMX asks supporters to write to their local government, make them aware of the demands. “Start statewide and we can go from there,” Serenity saidadded.

...Will it Work?

“We get people everyday that pop into [LMX’s public Discord] and say ‘This strike isn’t going to work, it's not going to be successful, you’re going about this all wrong,’ and we… listen to what they say,” said J.J..

LMX is sticking to its guns, working through all of the problems that originated at the strike’s proposal and attempting to create clear communication pathways between the group, its supporters and the government.

“It’s not enough that we write the policies, have the bills brought up,” J.J. noted. “We need people who can dedicate the time to lobby government and can canvas for representatives in every region to comply with these demands."

As to whether people will find this campaign moving enough to take the risk, that is to be determined. 

What happens after October 15?

October 15 is not meant to be the end all be all; it is simply a starting point for the movement to build off of.  

“People think that it’s just going to be one day – that’s not really what we’re planning to do,'' Serenity explained. “I’ve heard several more people want to organize outside of this and do [things] like the BLM movements where we strike once a week, a couple times a week, once a day, locally, nationally.”

LMX is discussing a Black Friday strike, and although the group has not announced any political affiliations, they will be promoting their demands in the face of the midterm elections on November 8. 

“2022 is really where we have to aim our focus for getting the people and the representatives that we want that are actually going to factor in those demands," J.J. said. "Right now it’s just making sure that those demands are in awareness and are being advocated for." 

"You don’t have to riot in the streets, you don’t have to break into a Best Buy. You just don’t go to work..." - Serenity